Greetings, People of Volts! We have come at last to the end of Transmission Month, née Week. It’s been quite a journey.
Below are links to and summaries of all the transmission posts. Above is a mega-podcast — all the posts, read by me, strung together, for when you have a couple of hours free.
The subscriber-only discussion post that started everything. Thanks for all the ideas!
Why we need more big power lines
An explanation for why the US needs more big, long-distance power lines to decarbonize, relieve grid congestion, and reduce the cost of power.
How to start building more big power lines
Building new power lines in the US is absurdly difficult, a kaleidoscope of dysfunction from planning to financing to permitting to siting. Local resistance ends up killing anything ambitious. The federal government needs to step in.
Burying power lines next to rail & roads to make a national transmission grid
One way to avoid siting hassles and local battles is to bury new transmission lines alongside existing rail and road infrastructure. One big line doing this, connecting Iowa wind to the Chicago area, is underway now.
How to make the existing grid work better
A set of “grid-enhancing technologies” stand ready to increase the capacity and improve the performance of the existing transmission grid, from “dynamic line ratings” to “topology optimization.” Utilities just need incentives to install them.
Two more ideas to quickly boost the transmission grid
A couple of final proposals to improve existing transmission. One is using energy storage to supplement transmission; the other is replacing existing AC lines with HVDC lines.
[Updated: Aug. 27, 2021] Volts podcast: the challenges of building transmission in the US, and how to overcome them, with Liza Reed
A discussion with clean-energy researcher about the obstacles facing long-distances transmission lines and some policies that might help clear them away.
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Thanks for reading and listening.